SOME students of two Suva schools were kept out of the classroom on the first day for non-payment of first term fees.
The parents of students from those schools based in Samabula and Nasese were disappointed by the decision.
Permanent secretary for Education Dr Brij Lal said schools were not allowed to keep students out or to send them home in cases of non-payment of fees and not to demand an upfront payment.
Dr Lal said this was made clear to all school managements in Fiji a long time ago.
The grandparent of one of the students, Jagdish Chand said he got a call from the headteacher of the school advising him that his grandson had not been allowed in class because he did not pay the fees.
He said he then called the school and spoke to a man who claimed to be the vice president of the school and was acting on behalf of the president who told him that the fees were needed to be paid in order for his grandson to enter the classroom.
"I tried to explain to him that this is only the first day of this school year 2013 and there must be some flexibility for parents to pay up, especially for those who have always paid in time and have no outstanding dues to the school," Mr Chand said.
"To this, the whole management team reacted and all had the same voice that I must pay if I wanted my child to enter the class," he said.
Mr Chand said he was told that there was a policy that was endorsed by the ministry to send students back home if payment of fees were not made.
"I asked to see the policy but was told there was no need," he said.
Dr Lal said there was no such policy and he expected both parents and school management to be responsible.
"I'm expecting people to be responsible and for schools and parents to make arrangements on the payment of fees," he said. He said the two schools were now working with parents to make arrangements regarding payment of fees.
The school management of the two schools refused to comment when visited by this newspaper.